You have spent years planning your retail business venture and months finally making it happen. So, what do you do now that you are ready to open the doors?

The answer is plan a grand opening, of course.

A great grand opening will do many things for your retail store, including providing an opportunity to form strategic connections from the local business area and help to build curiosity and excitement about your new business.

Follow the next steps to countdown to success.

1. Establish Your Goals

Before you begin to think about your budget, you should decide what the goals will be for your grand opening.

You should establish your goals first so that you can focus on them with each step of the planning process and consider how it will contribute to your overall success.

Some good goals to have include:

  • To create excitement and awareness.

You should plan your event so that it is exciting enough to convince the skeptics to come to your event and get people talking about your business. Even if the entire town does not show up to your grand opening, you still want them to hear about it.

  • To establish business connections.

Inviting your neighbors is a great way to spread awareness and connect with the right people.

Consider offering a discount for local business owners or another promotion that will bring in the people you want to be forming an alliance with.

  • To provide a positive and memorable experience.

The first few weeks of your business and the customer connections you make could leave a huge impact on your business. Be sure that you are prepared to leave a lasting, but a positive impression.

2. Set Your Budget

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Next, you will need to set your budget.

Grand openings can be expensive. However, it is important that you remember that the extra exposure is what your company will need to build a loyal customer base and thrive in the future.

Some factors that you will want to consider as you plan for your grand opening are:

  • The Cost of Marketing

In addition to the initial buzz you create around the event, you may want to offer promotions or giveaways (including merchandise) during the event.

  • Promotions

If you are running a discount or offering coupons, consider how much this will cost your business in the long run.

  • The Cost of Decorations, Supplies, and Refreshments

Depending on what you are planning, the actual day of your retail grand opening may include the cost of drinks or food, custom flags, signs, plates and napkins, or any other number of things.

Also, consider things like cardboard display stands or another point of sale displays should also be considered when budgeting out a grand opening.

  • The Cost of Labor

The final thing you must consider is the number of employees that will need to be paid to work during the grand opening. You should be sure you have enough staff on hand to handle large crowds if they happen.

3. Choose the Dates and Times

It is not uncommon for retail stores to have grand openings that last between two days and one week. As you consider how long you will be having your grand opening, make sure that you think about how much it is going to cost.

You should also decide if promotions or giveaways will be part of the event and what times.

4. Advertise the Event and Contact the Press

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Once you have the day of the event set and you know what you are going to do, you should start advertising.

The amount of time that you want to advertise ahead of time depends on your target market.

If you are moving to a new building, you can consider advertising with a bright sign. You can also pay for radio or newspaper advertisements, hand out merchandise. Or even advertise through word of mouth on Facebook if you have a large enough following.

Finally, be sure that news reporting outlets know about the grand opening of your retail store so they can come.

5. Plan for the Event

The final thing that you will want to do before the day of the event is plan what is going to happen.

As you plan, be sure to detail the customer’s experience before, during, and after.

Communicate your goals with your team of employees and make sure that they are prepared to provide a great experience.

If necessary, plan a dress rehearsal beforehand to make sure each employee knows their specific duty and what their role is in the overall customer experience.

6. Be Prepared with Enough Employees & Communicat Clearly With Them

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is not having enough employees to service the customers during your grand opening.

However, it is just as big of a mistake to have too many staff standing around, making the place seem as if it is slow.

Consider how many people are expected to come to each day of the event. Then, have a few extra people on hand or on call in case business surges too much.

What’s more, make sure all your employees are on the same page as far as what’s expected of them, their duties on opening day, and so on.

Communication breakdowns are the leading cause of store execution failures. Consider store communication software or other tools to streamline communication among all team members during the grand opening and beyond.

7. Get Out on the Floor

Some business owners make the mistake of taking a step back from the scene and running around to make sure everything is going smoothly during their grand opening.

The best place for you, however, is right in the eye of the customers. You should be introducing yourself and making connections.

Delegate the task of monitoring the event to someone else and turn your focus toward your customers.

8. Be Prepared for Possible Issues

Instead of frantically deciding what to do after something happens, be prepared with plans for possible issues beforehand.

If you think that traffic is going to be an issue, have someone direct traffic. If your retail store is large and hard to navigate, have plenty of people on standby to answer questions.

When it comes to a successful grand opening for your retail store, be sure to countdown to success with these tips. You will find that careful planning and advertising are key if you want your grand opening to result in a major success for your business.

Stock Photo from Rawpixel @ Shutterstock